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Blog

Musings of a librarian, former archivist, musician, bibliophile, and tech-obsessed.

Entries in Digitization (46)

Monday
Jul092012

Long Overdue Helpful Resources

Over the past month, I've received a few emails asking me about resources for various audiovisual digitization standards and workflows. Below is my response to the latest email, based on the research I have been performing to draft the UMD Libraries standards and guidelines over the past four months.

There are developing national standards for archiving audio and moving image media. A lot of the work in this area is being done at the Library of Congress, and I urge you to check out the standards that FADGI is developing: http://www.digitizationguidelines.gov/audio-visual/.

You may also want to check out the huge project that the Indiana University Bloomington is undertaking on their campus: http://www.indiana.edu/~medpres/. This is a follow-up to their involvement in the Sound Directions project, which does address a lot of difficulties that institutions (primarily large academic libraries) encounter in their audio archives (though it is applicable to other institutions on a much smaller scale: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/projects/sounddirections/papersPresent/index.shtml.

The International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives has also addressed audio digitization and archiving from a technical level in addressed audio digitization and archiving from a technical level in IASA-TC 04: http://www.iasa-web.org/audio-preservation-tc04

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) and The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers have also put forward standards, though these are usually highly technical and difficult to translate into a non-production environment.

If you need a less technical site to understand formats, I highly recommend NDIIPP's Sustainability of Digital Formats site: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/index.shtml. The Technical Committees of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections and the Association of Moving Image Archivists have also put forward some helpful compilations of resources.

These resources primarily cover digitization and digital file standards, though Sound Directions and the newest publication from IUB, Meeting the Challenge of Media Preservation, do touch on metadata. FADGI has some drafts of metadata standards, and is supposed to be putting forward standards this year.

NARA is working on in-depth technical metadata standards for moving image media: http://www.archives.gov/preservation/products/reVTMD.xsd. The Library of Congress has had theirs for a while: http://www.loc.gov/standards/amdvmd/

One thing to keep in mind is how video and audio metadata has been developed. PBCore was developed around Dublin Core metadata and is compatible with that schema. AMD and VMD from LC were designed around MODS and METS. The schema that you decide on should complement the metadata schema you already have in place, to prevent unnecessary metadata confusion and mapping.

Digital audio standards have been established between AES, ARSC, and IASA, and are now being improved upon, so we are fortunate in that.

As for capturing born-digital moving image materials, there is less publicly accessible documentation, but FADGI does have some resources. A new document was recently released concerning what is an archival format of video formats: http://www.digitizationguidelines.gov/guidelines/MXF_app_spec.html. Again, this is a draft, and most institutions may not be able to support the MXF/J2K format as well as .avi or .mov, but the document does give an idea as to the specifications and guidelines one should follow when creating, converting, or digitizing moving image. From my experience with records creators, establishing creation standards is essential so you don't have the favorite format and standard of whatever engineer you have on staff at the time, which is why what is in archives always varies greatly.

Lastly, I recommend checking out the Advanced Media Workflow Association for ideas about workflows: http://www.amwa.tv/. Their documents are especially helpful: http://www.amwa.tv/documents.shtml.

I am modeling our efforts on IUB's project, using many of the LC (NDIIPP and FADGI) standards. I would suggest starting there.

Friday
May112012

So you're setting up a centralized digitization program...

I've been neglecting my duty of sharing my experiences over the last several months. Part of that is because I've been so busy adjusting to a new job and attending conferences (Computers and Libraries, MARAC in Cape May, NJ, and soon ARSC), but I've also been doing things in my non-librarian life, such as joining a new orchestra and getting more involved in the DC Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity.

I also haven't done that much of general interest at work yet. I've been preoccupied with reading manuals, guidelines, and policies that have been created since the initiation of a digital collections program in the UMD Libraries, creating a budget for a new unit, researching new equipment for the expanded conversion and reformatting services, and managing a large-scale digitization project with end-of-year funds. Yesterday, I completed the first 64 pages of an analysis of digital conversion and reformatting across the Libraries, and a plan for the new Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting Unit at UMD Libraries. I have to add several sections to the document, yet, and hold additional one-on-one interviews with my initial 23 stakeholders, but the initial survey that I created provided me with enough information to draft this much. I've also been working to update audiovisual digitization standards that haven't been done in about 5 years, or so. Thanks to some conversations with some great people in the area, I've also been able to add some information and find out about some very new resources created by FADGI and NDIIPP; my lunch and conversation with Jimi Jones was particularly helpful!

I do hope to work with the Libraries and have our new and revised guidelines posted online, available to the public as soon as they are completed and approved. So far, I've had a very productive first three months!

Thursday
Dec152011

Finishing Up for the Semester

Over the last month, I've been focusing on crossing things off my work and professional to-do list. My two SLIS practicum students have finished their projects, including a new finding aid that was posted today, and over 300 metadata records for the School of Music audio recordings, to be used in a future digital collection.

I also participated in a interviewing process for the consortium's new Digital Projects Coordinator, who was just hired (she starts in March). Until then, as the upcoming head of the Digital Practices Committee, I will be making sure that we have completed all of our initiatives for before the June deadlines, and that we have all of the documentation in place for the Coordinator when she starts; while I won't start until January, I've been reviewing all of the documentation that I might need. We have our last meeting of the year tomorrow, and we'll be mainly focusing on project plans.

In addition to my normal volume of "let me get this in before you close for the holidays" photo digitization requests, I also digitized a small, alumnus photo album in-house. He didn't want to donate it, yet, but is allowing us to use the images for projects (I sent a Deed of Gift requesting copyright of the digitized images). This is one of several digitized alumni albums that will definitely be useful in the upcoming year for the university's 125th anniversary.

I also wrote a third, shorter article for our annual newsletter, featuring photos from our collections used in the CUA photo history book and a Veteran's Day presentation by an alumnus.

The piles on my desk are decreasing as I put away the books and printed reference publications that I have used over the last few months. I'm clearing away the post-it note reminders stuck to my computer monitor. While I still have next week, I feel like I have almost everything settled before I leave for break.

Tuesday
Nov222011

Digitization, Collaboration, and Communication

Over the past several weeks, I have been getting a lot of digitization requests for several projects that correlate with CUA's upcoming 125th anniversary celebrations. One of the more frequent and more interesting series of requests I've received relate to the Music Librarians' history of music at CUA, which became available last week as a digital exhibit (presented in omeka). They have been adding to the site this week and plan to contribute more to it in the future. It contains many photographs from our collections, scans of documents and music manuscripts, and audio recordings of school songs (all digitized by yours truly). What I like best about this exhibit is that it displays a variety of formats and materials from several collections to provide a comprehensive history of music at CUA. It also shows their dedication to the in-depth research needed for this project.

I've also been working on two articles for the Archives's annual newsletter. The article that I finished today is also tied into the 125 years of photographs in our collections, many of which have been used in two photograph books, The Catholic University of America and Brookland, in the past two years. The article gave me a good excuse to touch base with the authors to get some information from them for the article, and to see if they have any future projects in mind in which they will use our collections.

Friday
Nov042011

Audio Problems Finally Solved

I started my work day by taking apart the Otari with the hex screwdriver, and then, for over an hour, tried to find the internal switch to go from 15ips to 7.5ips. After I decrypted the manual (on page 5-5, "big P.C.B. Ass'y"="big printed circuit board assembly"), and found the corresponding location referred to in the most basic diagram the manual refers to, I was able to start to digitize the reels. However, unlike most small reel players, you do not depress the external button, you just flip the internal switch. That gave me a pretty interesting recording before I realized it was playing at 1/4 speed. I'm creating internal documentation for anyone else that might have to digitize anything if I'm out for some reason because I don't want to give anyone the headache I've had the last two days!

Screenshot of the diagram and photos of the internal switch: